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Thousands crowd ‘white sand’ Manila Bay, told to keep it clean



As hundreds of people flocked along Roxas Boulevard for a chance to view the Manila Bay’s artificial white sand, the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has reminded the public to avoid littering in the area.

MMDA spokesperson Celine Pialago urged Filipinos to keep Manila Bay clean since the government has spent about P389 million to rehabilitate the waterway.

“Local tourists gather at the present at the Manila Bay to witness the beauty of dolomite white sand but we would like to remind them to avoid littering there,” Pialago told DZBB in an interview.

“That portion of Manila Bay in front of the US Embassy was opened to the public so they can see this rehabilitation project but it does not mean that picnics are allowed so as to avoid garbage and trash there,” she added.

The MMDA official noted that those who would violate protocols would face sanctions, adding that government personnel and environmental marshals are roving in the area.

Pialago said the MMDA has seen a drastic decline in garbage collected at the Manila Bay.

From 30 truckloads of garbage a day, the MMDA is now collecting one to two trucks daily, she said.

On Saturday, in line with the International Coastal Cleanup Day, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources opened the controversial “white sand” at the beachfront of Manila Bay to the public — even if the government discourages Filipinos from doing non-essential things outdoors.

People were seen taking pictures, holding Zumba sessions, among others, without observing one-meter physical distancing.

Children and senior citizens — who are prohibited to go outside their homes because of their vulnerability to the coronavirus disease — also flocked to the area.

The elderly claimed that they are supporters of President Duterte, as some of them are even holding a tarpaulin with an image of the Chief Executive.